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Public health lab capacity to address coronavirus

Questions to the Mayor of London – answered on 16th March 2020.

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Photo of Onkar Sahota Onkar Sahota Labour

Are you concerned that the move of the public health laboratory out of London has affected our ability to react to the coronavirus outbreak?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

This is a very fast moving emergency situation, so please note that this response was based on the developments and advice given at the time.

Public Health England (PHE) are world leading experts in their epidemiology work. Their ability to have established a testing capability for a new virus and have completed over 26,000 tests within such a short time frame is an incredible feat. Their main testing laboratory has been based within London for COVID-19 and they are developing more localised testing facilities to increase the capacity of testing in more laboratories across England all the time.

Their swift response to research this new virus and provide a clear testing regime for the protection of the UKs residents has been excellent, and the location of their testing facilities has not inhibited this response. Within London the NHS have established 12 Community testing facilities, 19 drive-through facilities and 12 home team testing facilities to support their ongoing testing for COVID-19.